To be clear, I don’t run. Or more accurately, I can’t run. I trip over my own feet. Always have. One wonders how I managed to run around a tennis court when I was a child. It never got much better as an adult. But I digress.
No, the kind of marathon I am talking about is the TV and movie marathon – the modern day, technological, self-inflicted pain of sitting in front of a television screen for hours and hours on end to binge-watch an entire television series or every movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning with Iron Man and ending with Ant-Man (but excluding that forgettable Incredible Hulk – the one with Edward Norton).
If you are over the age of 30, you will remember the days when you studied the TV guide every Monday to check which programmes you were going to: 1) watch live, 2) record on the VCR, and 3) beg your parents/siblings/friends/neighbour to record for you on their VCR because you only have one TV set in the house and you can only record one thing at a time (and also because VCRs and VHS tapes were very expensive).
Now, in the twenty-first century, things are very different. Television viewing habits have changed. First came the popularity of DVDs where you can sit home and enjoy binge-watching the box set of an entire season of your favourite show, then came the higher-quality Blu-Ray disks. These days, we have streaming services which allow you to watch television shows and movies from just about any device, anywhere, any time. And there is another bonus to this: you can kiss the storage headache goodbye!
I used to tell myself I would not sign up to a streaming service because I was already square-eyed enough from my “regular” TV addiction. But then I received a three-month subscription to Netflix, and suddenly I felt like my whole world had changed. I signed up just before the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil premiered in March. Because the entire season of thirteen episodes was released all at once (on a beautiful Friday evening at 6pm AEDST), I was able to settle in for the evening in the comfort of my couch and kick off the only kind of marathon you will ever catch me participating in.
Alas, I was not able to stay awake for the entire thirteen hours and had to go to bed halfway through. As I was due to go out the next day, I had to put a hold on continuing the marathon…but only for a few short hours because I was able to continue streaming from my iPad Mini while sitting on the train and at the station while I waited for my friend to arrive! How brilliant! I know I am not alone in this obsessive, and dare I say, compulsive, viewing that weekend. I was recently in a store buying a Daredevil Pop Vinyl and a fellow shopper told me he had taken the day off work so he could sleep during the day in order to stay up all night to watch the entire season in one go. Now, that’s dedication!
Whilst it is becoming increasingly popular to release an entire season of a TV series all at once, I still enjoy catching shows on a weekly basis. After all, it allows my friends and I to be in sync so that we can discuss each episode in great depth afterwards, and gives us a week to digest and analyse every single scene until the next one (in particular, I am talking about The Walking Dead which, having completed six seasons, still gets everybody talking week after week).
Speaking of The Walking Dead, how about that season 6 finale, eh? My heart was pounding right out of my chest and I don’t think I breathed for the entire fifteen minutes that Negan was doing his monologue at Team Rick. And just as one great show has finished for another season, more great shows are returning this week, starting with Outlander – and I can tell you, having read the book on which this second season is based, I am going to be keeping my box of tissues close by; and then Game of Thrones will return at the end of April when we will (hopefully!) find out what incarnation of Jon Snow we will be seeing this season – come on, you know he is dead so stop deluding yourself!
Simply put, gone is the traditional “ratings” period when it comes to TV schedules and programming. There is good stuff out there all year round. One wonders how I will fit anything else in? And on that note, I am off to catch some Grantchester, or as my friend calls it “The Hot Cop and Vicar Show”. Happy marathoning!